In Spy Game Robert Redford is Nathan Muir, a jaded CIA agent on the cusp of retirement who finds out his ex-partner Tim Bishop (Brad Pitt) is going to be executed by the Chinese government in 24 hours. Bishop, still idealistic, went freelance to go in and bring out a dissident but was caught. Now his only hope is Muir – if he can get to him in time…
Redford and Pitt are reunited for the first time since A River Runs Through It, with Redford almost reprising his role from Three Days of the Condor but with even more cynicism.
British director Scott (Top Gun, Man on Fire ) uses flashback to show how the two men became first teacher and pupil then friends, placing in context Muir’s implacable decision to rescue Bishop, from Cold War Berlin via Vietnam and on to Beirut.
Scott also resists the temptation to indulge in macho-explosions and shoot-outs, preferring instead to concentrate on the mind games Muir must play against the deadline but keeping the action moving with a fast story line and quick scenes that keep the viewer hooked until the last frame.
USA / 2001
Director: Tony Scott
Writers: Michael Frost Breckner, David Arata
Cast: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane, Marianne Jean Baptiste